The philosopher and writer Alain de Botton is proposing to build a 46-metre tower to celebrate a “new atheism” as an antidote to what he describes as Professor Richard Dawkins’s “aggressive” and “destructive” approach to non-belief. Alain de Botton’s idea is to borrow the idea of awe-inspiring buildings from religion to give people a better sense of perspective on life.
He plans to build a £1m “temple for atheists” among the international banks and medieval church spires of the City of London. De Botton said he chose the country’s financial centre because he believes it is where people have most seriously lost perspective on life’s priorities.
“Normally a temple is to Jesus, Mary or Buddha, but you can build a temple to anything that’s positive and good,” he said. “That could mean a temple to love, friendship, calm or perspective. Because of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens atheism has become known as a destructive force. But there are lots of people who don’t believe but aren’t aggressive towards religions.”
The temple features a single door for visitors who will enter as if it were an art installation. The roof will be open to the elements and there could be fossils and geologically interesting rocks in the concrete walls. Details within the temple aim to evoke more than 300m years of life on earth. Each centimetre of the tapering tower’s interior has been designed to represent a million years and a narrow band of gold will illustrate the relatively tiny amount of time humans have walked the planet. The exterior would be inscribed with a binary code denoting the human genome sequence.
The philosopher said he has raised almost half the funds for the project from a group of property developers who want to remain anonymous. He hopes to find the rest of the money with a public appeal, and construction could start by the end of 2013 if permission is granted by the Corporation of London.
De Botton has insisted atheists have as much right to enjoy inspiring architecture as religious believers.
Within my project I am going to take some of Alain Botton’s ideas of a new atheism forward through my ‘Quasi-church’, but looking to develop a project in France as they continue to grow as one of the leading nations turning their back on religion.
Below is Alain de Botton’s TED talk on Atheism 2.0.
This camera by Lytro lets you take pictures like never before. Unlike a conventional camera that captures a single plane of light, the Lytro camera captures the entire light field, which is all the light traveling in every direction in every point in space. By instantly capturing complete light field data, the Lytro camera gives you capabilities not possible in ordinary cameras, the ability to focus where you desire within a taken photo. Since you’ll capture the color, intensity, and direction of all the light, you can focus and re-focus, anywhere in the picture. And focusing after the fact, means no auto-focus motor. No auto-focus motor means no shutter delay.
The light field is a core concept in imaging science, representing fundamentally more powerful data than in regular photographs. The light field fully defines how a scene appears. It is the amount of light traveling in every direction through every point in space. Conventional cameras cannot record the light field.
The way we communicate visually is evolving rapidly, and people’s expectations are changing. Light field cameras allow the picture taker and the viewer to focus pictures after they’re snapped, shift their perspective of the scene, and even switch seamlessly between 2D and 3D views. Pictures can become immersive, interactive visual stories that were never before possible – they become living pictures.
Critical Practice is a public arts group based at the University of the Arts, London. They operate under the proposition that developing aesthetic and programmatic space is a radial rather than lineal process and created the installation Parade to explore the effectiveness of their process in the public square. Made from 4300 black milk crates tied together with zip ties the structure’s components were minimized in order to focus on special relationships during the design and assembly process. It was constructed on the Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground at Chelsea Collage of Arts and Design during the third week of May, 2010.
The temporary installation was designed by Polish architects Ola Wasilkowska and Michał Piasecki who developed it as an exploration of changes and context of public space and how user-built structures could evolve. The seed of the design came from a series of algorithms manipulated to provide structural soundness. As participants began the assembly process they were encouraged to add to the design layout by manipulating space and adding “furniture” or human scale seating and platforms designed into the overall structure. This had the effect of the structure spreading out. The building process had layers of predetermined design and spontaneous space creation which then became indistinguishable.
The installation is intended to explore the role, intent, and process of communal places- how people interact by creating space and engage in group design.
PLUG-IN (Endemic Interstices) is a research group within the Architectural Association’s School of Architctures DRL. The group is formed of Alexandre Kuroda, Dağhan Çam, Karoly Markos, Ulak Ha, supported by their tutors Alisa Andrasek (Biothing) / Jose Sanchez and technical advisor Riccardo Merello (Arup). The team have been working on this project for more than a year and on the 20th January 2012 held their final public jury at the AA. The thesis simulates the cracks with a particle-spring system using processing and partly soft image. Their documentation of their project explains the transition from a natural rule system, into a digital presentation of form, control and behaviour, developing their interpretation of the natural systems/rules of cracked mud into an architectural form.
The main driver of the thesis is a nonlinear fabrication technique that utilises cracks in clay soil as a formwork for casting intricate structures. By programming the material behaviour and exposing it to certain environmental condition we are able to control the emergence of a wide range of crack patterns which are responsible for different performative qualities such as structural stability, solar shading and airflow modulation consequent to their morphological features of different size, density and porosity. The deployment of the system on site employes earth works protocols and Top Down construction techniques in order to achieve a temporary scaffold.
TETRA is an installation that exploits the potential of mass participation to create a form that emerges from the interactions of hundreds of people with the construction system over a number of days.
Inspired by the work of R. Buckminster Fuller into space-packing polyhedra, it explores the unique three dimensional geometrical properties of the regular tetrahedron and related ‘tetrahelices’ [also known Boerdijk–Coxeter Helices]. Their geometries provide an invisible framework for the participants to work within. The modular tetrahedral construction system will be used by the participants to create forms that automatically diverge from one another.
These in turn provide spaces separated from other participants for individuals to pause and reflect on the location and nature of their surroundings. TETRA’s position out on the edge of Black Rock City means that once the structure starts to take shape, participants will be able to climb to positions that afford views across the city. Just as Burning Man asks participants to take a step back from the consumer capitalism, so TETRA allows participants to step back and view Black Rock City as a whole
TETRA is a modular kit of parts that are assembled by participants into a structure that changes form over the course of the festival. There are 160 modules, each one a tetrahedron made from four equilateral triangle shaped pieces of CNC cut exterior plywood. Each triangular face has a hole cut from its centre which, as well as decreasing the overall weight of the module, allows the modules to become rungs in a structure that can be climbed up, on, in and through.
The ply edges of the four plywood triangles are bound together with rope to ensure a joint that can transmit loads in tension from one sheet of ply to the adjacent two. There are pre-drilled re-enforced holes near each vertex to allow for adjacent modules to be bolted together with bolts and wing-nuts by participants.
Each module is designed for one person to carry while climbing sections of the structure already built. The participants are able to climb any of the structure that is already built, and bolt their new module onto the existing structure. Once built, participants are able to climb up, select a module to remove and move to another place. This means that the overall form is not set by the designer, but emerges from the collective desires of a large group of participants.
Because of the intrinsic geometry of tetrahedra and tetrahelices, the form will always contain diverging branches with inhabitable spaces within them.
The concept of is primarily based on the purifying and recycling of shower water, plus the evaporation of Grey Water. Fractured Interstitial Water System uses the water from a shower and through a series of thought out cracks filtrates, purifies and re-disperses the water around the shower systems. The programme of recycling the water at the Burning Man Festival informs the architecture by controlling the cracking formation to the preferable form for the programme, the Grey Water cracks vary in depth and scale to suit the change in the needs of the water and allows the grey water to be taken out into the playa for evaporation.
Water is a desirable and limited resource at the Burning Man festival; this programme will reduce the need to remove numerous liters of grey water from the Burning Man site after the festival and allows the concept of showering to be a daily activity rather than once or twice in two weeks.
This home made 3D scanner uses a webcam, a laser line, a calibration backdrop and DAVID laserscanner software to create accurate and detailed 3D scans. The system must be calibrated first with no model present. Once this has been done the model can be placed in front of the backdrop and the laser line passed over its surface. The camera is able to read the distortions of the laser line as it passes over the surface and DAVID converts this information into a 3D mesh. Multiple scans can be made from different angles, which are then automatically aligned and fused by DAVID. Meshes can be exported in multiple formats, in this case as .obj for further editing in Rhino and rendering with VRay.